Track designer predicts Austin thriller
The new Circuit of the Americas that hosts this weekend's potentially decisive United States Grand Prix will be one of the biggest challenges of the season for the drivers and teams.
That is the view of track designer Hermann Tilke, who says he believes the track's spectacular layout will not be easy to conquer and will ensure thrills for the spectators.
The circuit is newly designed and built for this Sunday's showdown as defending champion German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull bids to become the sport's youngest triple champion.
He needs to out-score nearest rival two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 15 points to add the2012 title to his 2010 and 2011 crowns.
Tilke, however, thinks that the venue's configuration - which includes a dramatic rising blind apex at Turn One and cambered high-speed sections - will be a dramatic challenge.
"I think there are some real difficult parts of this track, and hopefully it will be one of the most challenging,"said Tilke.
"Turn 1 goes steeply uphill and then the elevation turns sharply into a downhill sector, so the drivers will not see the apex of the corner. It will be blind.
"I expect in first practice the drivers will make many mistakes, but they are so good they will learn it quickly because they are the best in the world.
"After Turn 1 there is a 'snake'section, which is very fast and orientation will be difficult for the drivers.The track also goes up and down, and there is also one corner which is banked the wrong way (adverse camber).
"For the drivers it will be hard, it will be difficult to set up the car and it will be tough to keep the tyres running correctly too. That could mean there are more problems with the tyres, which will be good for the race."
Tilke has been criticised in the past for track layouts that produced dull racing and he is reluctant to make any forecasts until the cars begin running.
That is why he is reluctant to predict how exciting the racing will be at the Austin venue until he has seen F1 cars in action there for the first time.
"I think this track is really good, but we have to see what the drivers will say about it," he said."That first statement will be important, and hopefully it will be a positive one. But you never know how it works."